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Asylum Seekers Taken To Manus Unwillingly: PNG Opposition
Opposition lawyer calls for court to declare center illegal

By Adrian Mathias

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb. 13, 2013) – Asylum seekers on Manus are there against their will, a lawyer representing Papua New Guinea Opposition leader Belden Namah told the National Court yesterday.

Lawyer Loani Henao moved a motion on the legality of the asylum centre before judge administrator of human rights, Justice David Cannings, in Port Moresby.

Henao, who has been instructed by Namah to test the legality of the centre in court, said people seeking asylum in Australia were transferred to PNG and detained at the Lombrum Naval Base on Manus.

"These people have no intention or desire to enter Papua New Guinea except they were forced cohesively and detained against their will," Henao told Cannings yesterday while moving the motion.

The respondents were the National Executive Council, Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato and the state.

They were represented by lawyer Peter Kuman of Kuman Lawyers.

Henao said they wanted the court to declare the centre unconstitutional and to make the memorandum of understanding, signed between the PNG and Australian governments to allow an asylum processing centre on Manus, void and of no effect.

He said transferring asylum seekers from Australia to PNG was in violation of their (asylum seekers) liberty under section 42 of the constitution.

The motion also sought to restrain the government from bringing more asylum seekers into the country until the legality of the centre was determined.

The hearing was adjourned to today to allow legal representation for the state.

Ian Molloy was to represent the state but he was out of the country.

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